October 16, 2018

When you or I say to someone, “I feel sad” about some loss, or “I feel lonely” about some disconnection, we are simply laying claim to our own internal emotional experience. The “I feel” statement, followed by our reference point to the experience is a responsible, grown up ownership of our own lives. Laying claim means taking ownership of our own feelings. It also leads to taking ownership of our own choices and actions.

Laying claim means taking ownership of our own feelings.

When you or I say to someone, “You make me feel sad,” or “You make me feel lonely,” we are casting blame for our emotional experience on the other person. In that blame, we also are making some demand that the other person take responsibility for our lives. It demands that the other person “fix” our feelings. It gives the other person responsibility for our emotional condition, and in many ways the condition of our lives.

When you or I say to someone, “You make me feel sad,” it demands that the other person “fix” our feelings.

Even when we lay claim instead of casting blame, it is often interpreted as some kind of plea or demand to be “fixed.” We are conditioned, often in the name of false love, to rescue each other or “fix” each other, instead of listening to each other and attending to each other. Listening “fixes” no one, but does offer influence for healing. Attending to someone is not taking responsibility for someone, but is actually being present in all of our limits with someone. The healing or help is in sharing and offering, not “fixing” or rescuing, i.e., “stopping someone from having feelings.”

We are conditioned, often in the name of false love, to rescue each other or “fix” each other.

We cannot live well in intimate relationships of any kind, or even in work relationships that are healthy, if we have to live under the demand of rescuing or “fixing” people’s lives, or demanding that they “fix” ours.

Laying claim to our own internal lives is a harder road to walk, but leads to healthier places. Casting blame for our internal condition will eventually become tormenting, even though it seems easier at first. It leaves us stuck.

Laying claim leaves room for asking and receiving help, placing us in healthily connected, trusting relationships. Casting blame demands a “fix” that will not be enough to rescue a person from having to face and feel the healthy struggle of intimate relationship.